Acronym for bridge protocol data unit. BPDUs are data messages that are exchanged across the switches within an extended LAN that uses a spanning tree protocol topology. BPDU packets contain information on ports, addresses, priorities and costs and ensure that the data ends up where it was intended to go. BPDU messages are exchanged across bridges to detect loops in a network topology. The loops are then removed by shutting down selected bridge interfaces and placing redundant switch ports in a backup, or blocked, state.